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Armond White - Still as classy as ever 
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Post Re: Armond White - Still as classy as ever
MGamesCook wrote:
I've heard of far worse.
And you've heard of far better.

MGamesCook wrote:
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and people talk about him like he split the atom. Come on now.


So blame them, not him.

Oh, I do.

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Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:02 am
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Post Re: Armond White - Still as classy as ever
The way I see it, the less I know about White the better. I don't know him as a person, I only know his reviews. But I don't think he tries to sway the masses really. I think he writes for a certain audience. People watch movies differently, and he writes for a different audience than most other critics and obviously it's a smaller audience. I think it's fair for him to write in a way that may offend those who don't agree with him in the first place. I have yet to see someone say "I agree with almost all of whites opinions, but his attitude is disgusting." Opinions on white as a person vs critic always seem to go hand in hand. I will say that I hope he doesn't do something like this again because it just isn't necessary. But at the same time it doesn't bother me that much either. His opinions on action and spectacle are the best I've ever been able to find. I'm not always as zealous about other stuff he likes, but I generally find his recommendations interesting and logical.


Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:40 am
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Post Re: Armond White - Still as classy as ever
MGamesCook wrote:
The way I see it, the less I know about White the better. I don't know him as a person, I only know his reviews. But I don't think he tries to sway the masses really. I think he writes for a certain audience. People watch movies differently, and he writes for a different audience than most other critics and obviously it's a smaller audience. I think it's fair for him to write in a way that may offend those who don't agree with him in the first place. I have yet to see someone say "I agree with almost all of whites opinions, but his attitude is disgusting." Opinions on white as a person vs critic always seem to go hand in hand. I will say that I hope he doesn't do something like this again because it just isn't necessary. But at the same time it doesn't bother me that much either. His opinions on action and spectacle are the best I've ever been able to find. I'm not always as zealous about other stuff he likes, but I generally find his recommendations interesting and logical.


They are very, very subjective opinions. Which (because he's a good writer) makes for an interesting read, but completely untrustworthy.

I watched Jonah Hex on the back of what he wrote. He owes me 100 minutes of my life back.

I mentioned this before, I used to post on a Cricket forum, and on that forum there was an Indian bloke who had a massive knowledge of the game. he could remember first class games from the 60s. He'd wind-up other posters by claiming he could win any argument whether he believed it or not, just because he had A) the data to recall; and b) the skill to use it in a manipulative fashion.

White's MO is the same. But at least the cricket bloke openly admitted he was taking the piss.

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Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:05 am
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Post Re: Armond White - Still as classy as ever
KWRoss wrote:
Personally, I can't wait to read White's "Better Than" list if only for a good laugh. It's like The Onion or ProFootballMock, only real.


I was curious about this so I read his "Better Than" throughout the years, and actually enjoy his articles more than expected. Sure, there are still some nonsensical comparisons (and related writing) that looks to come from the film's reputation rather than quality itself. But limiting himself to just a few sentences does wonder for his writing (especially concerning the rambling and baiting), and makes it kinda legitimately interesting.

I did have a good laugh like you said though at "Bad Grandpa > Nebraska".


Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:31 am
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Post Re: Armond White - Still as classy as ever
peng wrote:
KWRoss wrote:
Personally, I can't wait to read White's "Better Than" list if only for a good laugh. It's like The Onion or ProFootballMock, only real.


I was curious about this so I read his "Better Than" throughout the years, and actually enjoy his articles more than expected. Sure, there are still some nonsensical comparisons (and related writing) that looks to come from the film's reputation rather than quality itself. But limiting himself to just a few sentences does wonder for his writing (especially concerning the rambling and baiting), and makes it kinda legitimately interesting.

I did have a good laugh like you said though at "Bad Grandpa > Nebraska".


That's the thing with White. He's actually a really knowledgable, interesting critic when he isn't acting like a jackass. He's written a ton of essays for Criterion releases that all show a very in-depth knowledge of cinema. There's just, unfortunately, too much nonsense like his latest incident combined with reviews that often tend to attack films and filmmakers that have, at best, a tenous connection to the movie he's reviewing. All a critic really has is a certain degree of credibility and White's done just about everything he can to lose his.

calvero wrote:


This is great. It's well-written and really nails the issue.

MGamesCook wrote:
It almost seems that when true moral depravity is absent, people have to invent new ways of being immoral. And so an incident like this gets blown way out of proportion, everyone acting like White got arrested for a felony or something. So he mouthed off at a dinner. So? Is it bad enough to make national news? I've heard of far worse. Mountains out of molehills. People grasping at thin air, desperate for something to worry about. And write about. Armond's critics have gotten a healthy supply of readers this past week.


Look, I understand you're a fan of the guy, but you can't just focus on this latest incident and ask questions like, "so?" All that does is turn you into an apologist for White. Can you really not understand why his pattern of rude behavior at these awards shows emabarrasses other critics and makes the organization as a whole look bad? I find that hard to believe.


Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:16 am
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Post Re: Armond White - Still as classy as ever
This whole episode reminds me a little bit of a sports columnist I used to read fairly regularly: Jay Mariotti. I found his articles fascinating and actually agreed with a bunch of his viewpoints. Of course, at times I felt like I was alone; a lot of people hated his guts. He quit writing for the Chicago Sun Times in 2008 and moved over to AOL Fanhouse, and the pure venom spit against that guy on article after article seemed a little uncalled for. Yeah, he was kind of a dick to some of his colleagues in Chicago, but I used the same reason for many years: I read him for his writing and opinions and don't care much about his behavior.

Then it all went to hell one day in August 2010 when he was arrested for a domestic violence incident involving his live-in girlfriend. AOL fired him and he was out of the column game for good. Even though I read the guy regularly, I understood why his career was over. You don't make a living of calling out athletes for being knuckleheads and then go do something equally stupid. Hypocrisy at its finest.

Now, I'm not saying heckling a filmmaker is anywhere near as heinous as hitting a woman. But the issue remains the same; this is the real world and you have to represent your organization. No one, no matter what his contributions to the field are, is above common courtesy and professionalism.

Also, one minor note. I can make an argument that White's insults at McQueen were at least a little racial in nature. He basically called him a House Negro or an Uncle Tom, and that sentiment is reflected in his review of 12 YEARS A SLAVE, where he accuses McQueen of race-baiting.

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Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:03 am
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Post Re: Armond White - Still as classy as ever
Can't say for sure, but it looks a lot more like White was accusing McQueen of exploiting white guilt for praise (I would say profit, but not sure how the film is doing financially) rather than calling him an uncle Tom.


Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:48 am
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Post Re: Armond White - Still as classy as ever
I literally can't see how he comes to the conclusions he does upon reviewing certain films. I recently read his reviews for 12 Years a Slave and Lone Survivor. I just can't fathom him actually writing what he does. He calls 12 Years a Slave "torture porn" because he thinks McQueen's only goal is to shock (I'm sad to say, but I'm sure a lot worse actually happened than was portrayed on film). In a podcast with an editor from slashfilm.com, he said, "McQueen's only goal in directing 12 Years a Slave was to earn a larger budget and better project from the studios for next time." He literally said those words, almost verbatim. How can one just assume that of a director? If anyone was going to be offended by it, I thought it was going to be me. Before I saw it, I though it would just try to promote the message "the south was bad, evil, stupid" etc...but it didn't. It really just focused on one man's struggle for freedom.

http://www.slashfilm.com/filmcast-ep-252-12-years-a-slave-guest-armond-white-from-city-arts/

He said the following in his Lone Survivor review:

"Berg’s style–and his problem–centers on a non-craftsman’s pathetic, unoriginal handling of imagery and character. Going along with the TV and commercials and video games revolution, Berg brings zero cinematic craft to his attempts at seriously conveying the visual and emotional experience of battle." Really? Why don't you ask some Navy SEALS or anyone else who has served if he conveyed a visual and emotional experience of battle? If any of you have seen it yet, it probably conveys the most realistic aspects of battle since Black Hawk Down.

The guy might be intelligent and knowledgeable, but he is a batshit lunatic if he really believes the stuff he writes: Thus he must only do it to get a rise out of people, making him a hypocrite and a hack.


Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:33 pm
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Post Re: Armond White - Still as classy as ever
I did see Lone Survivor last night and it was really good, next to Act Of Valor it's definitely the most "realistic" war film i've seen by far, so this is one case where I very much disagree with White.

All that said though, I do think some people are blowing this incident out of proportion, I can understand people being pissed at him and if he really did "heckle" like that, it was unprofessional on his part.


Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:00 pm
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Post Re: Armond White - Still as classy as ever
Vexer wrote:
All that said though, I do think some people are blowing this incident out of proportion, I can understand people being pissed at him and if he really did "heckle" like that, it was unprofessional on his part.


I'm not worried about the "heckling." An asshole's gonna asshole. I genuinely want to know how he comes to the conclusions he does in his reviews. Can't some people's subjective opinions just be flat out wrong?...as it seems most of Armond's are? I just can't see how he actually believes most of what he writes.

Now I have trolled some people on here, and have been even less eloquent in portraying some of what I believe, but Armond gets paid to troll people. Maybe I need to email him for some tips.


Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:52 pm
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Post Re: Armond White - Still as classy as ever
roastbeef_ajus wrote:
Vexer wrote:
All that said though, I do think some people are blowing this incident out of proportion, I can understand people being pissed at him and if he really did "heckle" like that, it was unprofessional on his part.


I'm not worried about the "heckling." An asshole's gonna asshole. I genuinely want to know how he comes to the conclusions he does in his reviews. Can't some people's subjective opinions just be flat out wrong?...as it seems most of Armond's are? I just can't see how he actually believes most of what he writes.

Now I have trolled some people on here, and have been even less eloquent in portraying some of what I believe, but Armond gets paid to troll people. Maybe I need to email him for some tips.

Some opinions can be flat out wrong, like say Mel Gibson claiming the Holocaust "never happened". But I don't know if I would say the same thing about White's reviews, even the ones I disagree with I don't really feel he's necessarily "wrong" about the films.


Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:54 pm
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Post Re: Armond White - Still as classy as ever
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Then it all went to hell one day in August 2010 when he was arrested for a domestic violence incident involving his live-in girlfriend.


This is MUCH worse than what White did though. That's what I mean about blowing things out of proportion.

Over time, I've learned to read White in terms of Thumbs Up vs. Thumbs Down. Sometimes his actual words seem random and beside the point and he almost always indulges in hyperbole. You have to read between the lines with him.


Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:55 pm
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Post Re: Armond White - Still as classy as ever
Vexer wrote:
roastbeef_ajus wrote:
Vexer wrote:
All that said though, I do think some people are blowing this incident out of proportion, I can understand people being pissed at him and if he really did "heckle" like that, it was unprofessional on his part.


I'm not worried about the "heckling." An asshole's gonna asshole. I genuinely want to know how he comes to the conclusions he does in his reviews. Can't some people's subjective opinions just be flat out wrong?...as it seems most of Armond's are? I just can't see how he actually believes most of what he writes.

Now I have trolled some people on here, and have been even less eloquent in portraying some of what I believe, but Armond gets paid to troll people. Maybe I need to email him for some tips.

Some opinions can be flat out wrong, like say Mel Gibson claiming the Holocaust "never happened". But I don't know if I would say the same thing about White's reviews, even the ones I disagree with I don't really feel he's necessarily "wrong" about the films.


I'd often be inclined to agree, but alas White is sometimes objecively wrong. Which is some feat in reviewing films.

Imagine White's MO applied to, say, science. Mercury larger than Jupiter? Sound faster than light? His writing sometimes reminds me of that postmodern French garbage that passes for philosophy.

Film is vague enough for him to almost get away with twisting reality to serve his subjective ideals

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Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:19 pm
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Post Re: Armond White - Still as classy as ever
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alas White is sometimes objecively wrong


No he's not. Film is art. It's subjective. The only opinion worth having is a subjective one. Conformity is what's objectively wrong. And this overweening culture of conformity, where people are bullied into agreeing with the "consensus," I don't blame White for getting pissed off sometimes. I do too.


Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:44 pm
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Post Re: Armond White - Still as classy as ever
MGamesCook wrote:
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alas White is sometimes objecively wrong


No he's not. Film is art. It's subjective. The only opinion worth having is a subjective one. Conformity is what's objectively wrong. And this overweening culture of conformity, where people are bullied into agreeing with the "consensus," I don't blame White for getting pissed off sometimes. I do too.


But what he says a lot of the time doesn't make any goddamned sense. How could he possibly know McQueen's intentions of making 12 Years a Slave? How could he profess to know that McQueen only directed that movie to make a larger name for himself (unless McQueen actually called White and told him that)? How can one compare 12 Years a Slave to torture porn?

When he makes stupid statements like that in his reviews, he comes off as a pretentious douchebag. Maybe he should use his "so called intelligence" and masters from Columbia to actually bless the journalistic world with something more worthy than what he does.


Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:57 pm
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Post Re: Armond White - Still as classy as ever
"Torture porn" to me implies that a movie is showing killing and torture just for the sake of it, to push buttons and see how far it can take the depravity. Character development and plot just take a distant back seat. I loved the first SAW movie because of its central mystery, but as the series went along, it became less about psychological horror and more about the crazy ways filmmakers can mutilate random people who aren't even legit characters, just props.

12 YEARS A SLAVE doesn't qualify because Solomon and Patsey come across as real people and easy to sympathize with.

Also, based on interviews with McQueen I've read, he's always had a fascination with slavery and has been wanting to make a movie about it ever since he got into filmmaking. He just couldn't find the "right" source material. He credits his wife for first telling him about Northrup's memoir.

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Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:36 pm
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Post Re: Armond White - Still as classy as ever
KWRoss wrote:
"Torture porn" to me implies that a movie is showing killing and torture just for the sake of it, to push buttons and see how far it can take the depravity. Character development and plot just take a distant back seat. I loved the first SAW movie because of its central mystery, but as the series went along, it became less about psychological horror and more about the crazy ways filmmakers can mutilate random people who aren't even legit characters, just props.

12 YEARS A SLAVE doesn't qualify because Solomon and Patsey come across as real people and easy to sympathize with.

Also, based on interviews with McQueen I've read, he's always had a fascination with slavery and has been wanting to make a movie about it ever since he got into filmmaking. He just couldn't find the "right" source material. He credits his wife for first telling him about Northrup's memoir.

I don't like the Saw sequels either(though i'm not exactly fond of the first film either) and I certianly disagree with White's take on 12 Years A Slave. But I absolutely hate the term "torture porn" with a passion, I think it's a BS term critics made up for horror films out of laziness, so I don't it's something any critic should use to describe a film period.


Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:45 pm
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Post Re: Armond White - Still as classy as ever
MGamesCook wrote:
Quote:
alas White is sometimes objecively wrong


No he's not. Film is art. It's subjective. The only opinion worth having is a subjective one. Conformity is what's objectively wrong. And this overweening culture of conformity, where people are bullied into agreeing with the "consensus," I don't blame White for getting pissed off sometimes. I do too.


Film must have some objectivity, or else a film of someone taking a dump could be on par with The Godfather.

To completely deny objectivity is to completely deny accepted standards.

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Wed Jan 15, 2014 5:08 am
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Post Re: Armond White - Still as classy as ever
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Film must have some objectivity, or else a film of someone taking a dump could be on par with The Godfather.

To completely deny objectivity is to completely deny accepted standards.


Accepted standards are a matter of personal opinion and personal taste. It's up to each individual viewer which movies and critics to trust. I wouldn't trust a critic who says a single shot of a man taking a shit is better than The Godfather. I would trust a critic who praises technically superior, swiftly paced, aesthetically interesting, entertaining movies (which White does) and who pans pretentious, overlong, oversized, boring crap (which White does).

And at the end of the day, who knows...maybe it takes a truly subjective perspective to be able to do those two things with confidence. Besides which, objectivity has no meaning when almost no critic is qualified to objectively evaluate a film from a technical standpoint. White understands filmmaking from a technical perspective, and therefore from the filmmaker's perspective. Berardinelli, by contrast, may seem like a nicer guy, but he has no clue about the technical side of filmmaking. He thinks only from the point of view of the so called "intellectual consumer." I prefer White's perspective because I aspire to be more than just a consumer.


Wed Jan 15, 2014 6:37 am
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Post Re: Armond White - Still as classy as ever
MGamesCook wrote:
Quote:
Film must have some objectivity, or else a film of someone taking a dump could be on par with The Godfather.

To completely deny objectivity is to completely deny accepted standards.


Accepted standards are a matter of personal opinion and personal taste. It's up to each individual viewer which movies and critics to trust. I wouldn't trust a critic who says a single shot of a man taking a shit is better than The Godfather. I would trust a critic who praises technically superior, swiftly paced, aesthetically interesting, entertaining movies (which White does) and who pans pretentious, overlong, oversized, boring crap (which White does).

And at the end of the day, who knows...maybe it takes a truly subjective perspective to be able to do those two things with confidence. Besides which, objectivity has no meaning when almost no critic is qualified to objectively evaluate a film from a technical standpoint. White understands filmmaking from a technical perspective, and therefore from the filmmaker's perspective. Berardinelli, by contrast, may seem like a nicer guy, but he has no clue about the technical side of filmmaking. He thinks only from the point of view of the so called "intellectual consumer." I prefer White's perspective because I aspire to be more than just a consumer.


It would be interesting to see what films you think White is wrong on, because there's no conceivable way you could agree with his heavily subjective opinions all, or even most, of the time.

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Wed Jan 15, 2014 8:35 am
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